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Wichelstowe is a residential development and urban extension on the southern edge of the town of Swindon in South West England, constructed from late 2006. Located north of the M4 motorway between junction 16 and Croft Road,[1] Wichelstowe has three neighbourhoods: East, Middle and West Wichel. The development will comprise up to 4500 homes, employment space, public open space, shopping, community facilities for residents and various schools.[2] In 2014 it was described as the country's largest housing project on public-owned land.[3]


The medieval history of the site is reflected in the name; 'Wichel' is the original name of the area as recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, and 'stowe' is an Old English word meaning "meeting place".[4]

Before the Wichelstowe development was built, the area was commonly known as the 'front garden' of Swindon since it was a stretch of open land which separated the town from the motorway.

In 1995, the first proposals for the site were put forward for consideration by Wiltshire County Council as structure planning authority. The following year, the first public proposal for the site considered a comprehensive development to help meet Swindon's housing needs up to 2011.[5]

In 2001, the Front Garden Action Group (FRAG) and Bloor Homes launched an unsuccessful High Court challenge against the Structure Plan and the green light was effectively given for Wichelstowe to go ahead.[6] An extensive programme of public consultation was undertaken on the proposals by Taylor Woodrow and an outline planning application submitted in 2002. Infrastructure works commenced on site in 2006. The first home occupations in East Wichel took place in 2009.[5]

East Wichel under development in May 2010
East Wichel Way, April 2012
Waitrose, Middle Wichel
East Wichel, June 2009
Canalside, January 2021
Shops at East Wichel, February 2021


Wichelstowe began as a collaboration between Swindon Borough Council and Taylor Wimpey to jointly provide and finance infrastructure. In early 2009, this agreement was reshaped into a co-operation agreement; both parties operated independently but in a mutually supportive way to develop the site. The entire Wichelstowe development was due to be completed by 2020, but this was delayed by the financial crisis of 2008.

East Wichel[edit]

East Wichel, the eastern quarter, was largely built by Taylor Wimpey who operated independently with support from Swindon Borough Council. Construction started in 2008, and the development was completed in 2014.

  • Construction was by Taylor Wimpey, Barratt, David Wilson Homes, Persimmon plc, and Bloor Homes.
  • The first home in East Wichel was occupied in April 2009.
  • In 2010, Thamesdown Transport amended their bus route 11 to serve the new development.
  • A small reservoir, Wichelstowe Lakes, was built between 2010 and 2011.
  • East Wichel Community Primary School opened to pupils in September 2011.[7]
  • The new restored canal was completed in 2011.
  • A Marston's pub/restaurant called The Bayberry opened in May 2012.[8]
  • In early 2019, a new Co-op store opened in East Wichel; a fish and chip shop, a dentist, a Brazilian restaurant and a hair salon opened the following year.
  • In 2019, the canal began to expierence some problems with water leaking; the problem is currently being investigated and temporary concrete barriers have been set-up in an attempt to remedy the issue.
  • In 2020, a small add-on called Ambrose Gardens was built adjacent to Croft Road.
  • A playground in East Wichel was constructed in 2015; it underwent a major revamp in late 2020.

Middle Wichel[edit]

Middle Wichel is the central part of Wichelstowe. A restored section of the Wilts & Berks Canal runs through the development. Construction started in 2013, and is ongoing as of July 2021.

  • Road infrastructure, including a new bridge, was built in 2009.
  • A Waitrose supermarket opened its doors to the public in April 2014.[9]
  • A pub/restaurant operated by Hall & Woodhouse opened in late 2018.
  • The Deanery Academy, a new secondary school, had its first intake of pupils in September 2019.
  • Work started on the Canalside housing development in late 2019; the first occupations in Middle Wichel took place in 2020, and the development is due to be completed later in 2021.
  • The Kingfisher Academy, a new primary school next to the Deanery, is due to open in September 2021.
  • Work is due to start on Wichel Fields, a new housing development to the east of Waitrose, in mid 2021.
  • Mill Lane closed to traffic on 26 April 2021 and became a public cycle path & footpath, maintaining vehicular access only for residents and emergency services.

West Wichel[edit]

West Wichel is planned to be a mostly residential area, but it is also set to contain a small area for shops, employment land, another primary school and a park & ride. Work is due to commence on the first sections of West Wichel in mid 2021.

  • A new M4 underpass road linking Wichelstowe to Wharf Road is due to be completed in 2021.
  • The Orchards — the first section of West Wichel — is due to be constructed in mid 2021.


East Wichel is part of Central Swindon South civil parish,[10] and the first tier of local government is South Swindon Parish Council. Middle and West Wichel are part of Wroughton civil parish, and the first tier of local government is Wroughton Parish Council.[11]

The local authority is Swindon Borough Council, a unitary authority. Wichelstowe forms part of the council's South Locality, alongside Old Town, Wroughton, Chiseldon and Lawn, and Ridgeway wards.[12]


  1. ^ "Wichelstowe". Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  2. ^ "Welcome to Wichelstowe". wichelstowe.co.uk. Swindon Borough Council. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
  3. ^ Benke, Mike (8 July 2014). "A £130m boost for region". Swindon Advertiser. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
  4. ^ "Wichelstowe In Focus". www.wichelstowe.co.uk. Swindon Borough Council. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Chronology". wichelstowe.co.uk. Swindon Borough Council. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
  6. ^ ., . (26 November 2001). "The Front Garden fight will continue". Gazette & Herald. Retrieved 3 January 2021.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ "East Wichel Primary School in Swindon opens its doors". BBC News: Wiltshire. 18 July 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
  8. ^ "The Bayberry pub scheduled to open on 14 May 2012". East Wichel News. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
  9. ^ "Swindon Waitrose". Waitrose. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  10. ^ "Election Maps". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  11. ^ "Parish Map". Wroughton Parish Council. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
  12. ^ "South Locality". Swindon Borough Council. Swindon Borough Council. Retrieved 14 July 2014.

Coordinates: 51°32′36″N 1°48′27″W / 51.54333°N 1.80750°W / 51.54333; -1.80750

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